Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Urban Life Leaves Behind Traces in the Genome of Bumblebees

Bumblebees living in the city have genes that differ from those of their relatives in the countryside. Although genetic differences are not major, they nevertheless may influence how well the insects adapt to their habitat. These differences in their genetic makeup are an indication that urban life does impact the evolutionary trajectory of a species, write researchers at Martin Luther University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Leipzig-Jena in the current issue of the renowned journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society B".

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Timing is everything: researchers describe genetic clockwork in germ cell development

The nematode C. elegans is truly an organizational talent: The tiny animals, just one millimetre long, live for only two to three weeks, with sexual maturity lasting only four days. They nevertheless manage to generate over 300 offspring during this brief period. For this ambitious development programme to function optimally, a large number of processes must be synchronised within their cells. Geneticists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have deciphered a central signalling pathway that encodes and controls these processes. Their study was recently published in the international scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).

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Growing and surviving: how proteins regulate the cell cycle

Cell division is the basis of all life. Even the smallest errors in this complex process can lead to grave diseases like cancer. Certain proteins have to be switched on or off at certain times for everything to go according to plan. Biophysicists and medical biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have managed to describe the underlying mechanism of this process. They have figured out how different signaling pathways in the cell change the structure of proteins, thereby driving the cell division cycle in the right direction at the right time. The researchers present their findings in the renowned journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".

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Bees: How royal jelly prevents royal offspring from falling out of their cells

Defying gravity: A special mixture of proteins in the larval food of bees ensures that future queen larvae survive. Surprisingly this has less to do with nourishment than with gravity. The special properties of the proteins prevent the large and heavy larvae from falling out of their cells. Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg have discovered how this is accomplished at a molecular level.

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Producing handy gels from a protein found in human blood

From blood to the lab: the protein albumin is responsible for many vital processes in the human body. In nature it only appears as a solution when dissolved in water. Chemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a method of producing various albumin-based gels. Their findings may one day help to develop innovative drug carrier systems that more easily reach the bloodstream. The study conducted by the researchers in Halle was recently featured on the cover of the international Journal "Biomaterials Science" published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Spintronics: Physicists receive funding for new CRC

New opportunities for cutting-edge research in ultrafast physics and nanomagnetism: Physicists at Freie Universität Berlin and Martin Luther University have succeeded in winning funding for a new joint Collaborative Research Center (CRC). Within the "CRC/Transregio 227: Ultrafast Spin Dynamics" project, scientists will work together on new concepts for the ultrafast manipulation of magnetic systems at the nanoscale.

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Our commitment to refugees

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg supports refugees eager to study by providing the following counselling services and measures.

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